Donating an Old Car to Charity

Donating an old car to charity has many advantages to the community. The donor gets a valuable tax deduction on their itemized federal return. The charity gets some much needed money to help fund their programs. The community gets a gas guzzling, polluting car off the road. It all sounds simple. It is simple if you know how to do it correctly.


Here's some advice to consider before just blindly handing over the title to your car. Find how much money the charity will receive. If you are dealing with a car donation center, ask them how much of the actual sale price the charity will receive. The term "net sale price" means the actual sale price minus auction fees, selling fees, or other fees charged by the center. In some cases, these fees may be more than the selling price of the car. If so, the charity may have to pay the donation center the difference. You won't know unless you ask!

Always make a copy of your title. Know who you are giving your car to. You should either mail your title to the charity or hand it directly to the person towing your car after they give you a receipt. Never, just leave the title in the car! If you do, you may not get a receipt and therefore, will have no proof of your donation. If you live in a state where you are required to remove the license plates, make sure you do!


You won't be able to cancel your car insurance until you have either transferred the plates to another car or returned them to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You won't be able to do either if you leave them on the car!

Make sure you keep all the correspondence between you and the charity. If you don't, when you go to do your taxes, you'll find yourself calling around to the various charities to find out which one you donated your car to.

By karen from Utica, NY

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May 11, 20090 found this helpful

They make it sound so easy in the ads, just make a call and they pick up your car. Thanks for taking the time to inform us of all the pitfalls.

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